A little teaser for my short story, Bloodlust: The Great Games, due soon.
“AND TONIGHT, FIGHTING FOR THE RED FACTION,” The announcer’s voice echoed in the vast arena, the audience still quiet, waiting breathlessly… “FIONA THE EXECUTIONER.”
As the Gladiatrix’s name sounded, the crowd roared. The door to the Gladiator’s entrance opened. Rose felt as if the wall of sound might pick her up and carry her away, like a tidal wave. She was momentarily nervous, but then she was on her feet beside her dad, screaming “FIONA!” over and over as the Gladiatrix herself marched into the arena.
Tall and athletic, Fiona moved with predatory grace as she strode across the white sand to the middle of the fighting grounds. Red hair, spiked, gave the impression of a phalanx of bloody spears erupting from her head. Pale green eyes raked the crowd as the Gladiatrix’s mouth twisted into a playful snarl. The enchantments on the arena were so powerful that Rose and Darius could make out the freckles on her pale skin.
In one hand, the Executioner bore a large wickedly curved sickle and in other other a full sized headsman’s axe. Darius knew that even a man his size would have likely have trouble wielding such weapons in a fight. Gladiators used the Gift to enhance their bodies, and Fiona’s muscles were like steel cables, far denser and stronger than any normal person could be. Her armaments were made of exotic materials, custom-made by master smiths and enchanted with potent runes and Darius, who admired craftsmanship, took in the details reverently.
I ended up going with an unknown fighter, mostly to give fans a taste of something new. I enjoy creating the image and style for each Gladiator as much as I enjoy describing the fighting and the performances. I like to think of them as part Rockstar, each trying to create a look that will draw fans to them. The “image consultant” scene between Amoura Vogue and Sadira in Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s tale, one of my favourites, was born of that line of thought.